We know that when driving abroad you can encounter more differences than countries.
Before travelling overseas make sure you have everything you need for a smooth, stress free journey. This information includes advice about accessories you may need to purchase when driving in an EU country More Information.
Europcar is the largest car hire company of European origin and represents one of the world's most extensive networks with 2650 stations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Central America, The Caribbean, the Indian Ocean-Asia-Pacific zone and Australia.
Before you hire
Car hire requirements
Europcar require that a valid driving licence has been held for at least 1 year. In most countries you must be at least 21 years of age. Driving into neighbouring countries, or completing your hire in a different town/airport may be permitted for a small fee depending on the country and Europcar location. Additional driver and young driver / minimum age limits also vary by country. Please see our general hire information for more detail.
Driving in Other Countries
Driving in the EC
You can use your GB licence for driving in other countries in the European Community (EC) or European Economic Area (EEA), however, the minimum age for driving a car may differ from in the UK.
The member states of the EC are as follows:-
Republic of Cyprus
Driving in Non-EC Countries
You will need to check in advance of travelling to non-EC countries that you plan to drive in whether an International Driving Permit is required (IDP).
What is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?
An International Driving Permit or IDP is a legal document issued for use in other counties which literally translates the details of your driving licence into several different languages. This enables the authorities of other countries to interpret your licence details, entitlements and validity periods, plus confirm the identity of the holder.
IDP's can be obtained from the Post Office
In order to qualify for an IDP you must be a resident in the UK, have a full UK driving licence and be over the age of 18 and there is a fee of £5.50.
For more information about driving in other countries, click on the corresponding area below:-
North & South America
Deposit and hire charges
You will need to present a driving licence in your name, issued by your country of residence. The driving licence must be valid in the country of hire (driving licences in characters not readable in the country of hire must be accompanied by an International Driving Licence) and held for a minimum period of time depending on local legislation or conditions. You will also need to present a valid credit card. An identification document, such as a passport, may also be required and at certain locations for luxury models a second credit card and / or utility bill dated within the last 3 months from the same address. The same documents (driving licence and Id Card or Passport) will be requested to additional drivers.
If you use a Europcar prepaid voucher (with a specified value or the mention Group Days apply), you must also present a credit card for the charges which have not been prepaid (extras, refuelling charge, excess due in case of damage to or loss of the hired vehicle).
Europcar accepts most major credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, EuroCard, MasterCard, Visa) however there can be exceptions in some countries. Please see our general hire information for more detail.
Deposits and hires paid in cash are limited within the Europcar network (where cash deposits are accepted they must be accompanied by additional forms of proof of identity - please check with your Europcar reservations office). Where they are possible, it is only for the first three smallest categories of cars. Cash payment of the completed hire charges once the car is returned is acceptable in most locations.
Europcar offers a Credit Card Currency Conversion service for foreign travellers, Visa and MasterCard cardholders hiring abroad. For more information, please refer to next section.
Certain premium or luxury vehicle classes and some Europcar hire locations may require additional proof of identity and payment guarantees.
Credit Card Currency Conversion Service
Europcar offers a Credit Card Currency Conversion service for foreign travellers, Visa and MasterCard cardholders hiring abroad. This service is available in 9 European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) according to the following terms and conditions.
For a transaction where the cardholder's billing currency differs from the hire currency: the hirer has the choice at the start date of hire to elect to pay either in the currency of the country of hire (hire Currency), or to pay in his own credit card billing currency.
If the payment is done in the Cardholder's Billing Currency the invoiced amount will be converted by Europcar, from the hire Currency, to the Cardholder's Billing Currency:
The following statement shall be printed on the hire agreement: « Final charged amount will be converted into your Billing Currency » plus the 3-letter code identifying such Currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR).
The final charged amount of the hire will be converted at the exchange rate of the day, supplied by Reuters, plus a commission of 2.75%. Any delayed or amended charges will be processed in the same currency as selected by the hirer, and on the day they are received using the exchange rate applicable on that day.
The Credit Card Currency Conversion service is provided by Monex Financial Services.
If the hirer requires the hire currency to be changed, this can be done only at check-in time, when requesting a printed statement of charges, otherwise the check-out choice of payment currency is considered as definitive.
If, for any reason, the conversion cannot be processed by Europcar, or is declined by the cardholder at the time of hire, the transaction will be submitted in the hire Currency and converted afterwards by the card issuing bank, according to their currency conversion conditions.
Please see Credit Card Currency Conversion service for more information on the benefits of this service.
Credit card coverage / card holder present.
Some credit cards may entitle their holders to a degree of cover for damage to, or loss of, the hire vehicle.
We are happy to recognise such cards and for the card-holder, in such a case, not to avail them of the protections set out above and to stand liable for any damage to, or loss of, our car.
Please, however, be aware of the following:
If you elect to be covered by your card and decline Europcar's protections, you are also declining Europcar's recovery service from liable third parties;
The extent of coverage provided by credit cards varies and is usually subject to certain restrictions, in particular concerning the maximum length of hire and the type of car which can be covered.
Europcar strongly advise you to contact your Credit Card organisation before the hire and provide details/proof of your coverage when arriving at the at the Europcar hire location.
If paying for a Europcar car hire via credit card the cardholder must be physically present in order to sign the hire agreement payment.
At the Airport or Europcar hire location
Check you have all items of your luggage, maps you may require, and that you do not feel overly tired in advance of your journey.
Whether at the airport, the Europcar location, or on your travels pay careful attention to your purse/wallet and where you keep your car keys. Please do not leave your baggage unattended or valuables/keys on a desk or table. If you are travelling in a group assign someone to stay with your luggage whilst all/any other drivers of the car familiarise themselves with the car.
Your hire car
Please check that the car conditions written on the car statement are correct and if an apparent defect not listed is noticed when examining the car; please notify an Europcar employee.
What is the most suitable seating position for you, with correctly positioned mirrors.
Whether the car fuel is petrol/gasoline or diesel.
The route you will take, particularly if leaving a busy airport / city centre.
If you are driving in a country where cars are on the opposite side of the road from which you are used to, or you require some additional information on the car please contact our staff. They will be happy to demonstrate the workings of the car and to help you familiarise yourself with the controls.
Rules of the road
Observe local speed limits
Speeders may have their driver's licences confiscated immediately, wherever they are stopped. Fines are often high and they must be paid. That's why it's important to carefully observe all posted speed limits. And remember, most countries post speed limits in kilometres, not miles...
Think - Don't drink!
As you'd expect, every European country has laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and their permissible blood alcohol level is often extremely low. Drinking just one can of beer could put you in violation of the law in many countries. And in several, any blood alcohol reading above zero is considered a punishable offence.
Legislation in most countries now requires both drivers and passengers to wear correctly fitted safety belts. Furthermore most European countries do not permit children under certain ages to be in the front passenger seat of a moving car.
Park only where it's permitted.
In major cities, parking areas designated as "blue zones" for short-term parking (1 to 11/2 hours), "green zones" for longer periods, and "red zones" where parking is prohibited. Some cities also use parking meters, so be sure to check for - and feed - the meter if there is one.
Common European road signs
Click here to view the most common road signs you will encounter whilst driving in Europe.